Ingredients for Soft Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 6 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Ingredients for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Assorted food coloring (various shades of green)
- 4 piping bags fitted with an assortment of tips
- Assorted sizes white pearl nonpareils
- White sparkling
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. To prepare sugar cookies: cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until completely incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl; add vanilla and orange extracts and mix until blended.
3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl; slowly add to mixing bowl on low speed until fully blended and dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Divide dough into 2 pieces.
4. On a 12-inch x 16½-inch non-stick silicone baking mat or parchment paper, roll out half of dough to ¼-inch thickness. Place baking mat or parchment on a cookie sheet and chill dough in freezer for 5 minutes. (Freezing dough slightly makes it easier to cut out shapes and transfer to cookie sheets.)
5. Remove dough from freezer. Cut out shapes with a variety of Christmas tree-shaped cookie cutters. Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
6. To prepare buttercream frosting: cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed until fluffy. Slowly add confectioner’s sugar and beat on low speed until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl after partially blended. Add cream and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
7. Divide buttercream frosting into 4 portions. Tint each portion to desired shade with food coloring and transfer to a pastry bag.
8. Using a variety of tips, pipe buttercream frosting on cooled sugar cookies to resemble tree branches. Decorate frosted cookies with sparkling sugar and pearls. If making ahead, refrigerate cookies to hold.